Hellems Released From Hospital, Status Still Uncertain

Brett Friedlander

NC State has announced that Jericole Hellems has been released from the hospital and has returned to Raleigh. 

"He is in good spirits and will follow up with NC State physicians over the next several days," the release stated. "Coach (Kevin) Keatts will update Jericole’s status later this week."

Hellems, who has been playing the best basketball of his career of the past two weeks, was injured when he took a hard fall while battling for a rebound with 28 seconds remaining in the Wolfpack's 91-82 win at Wake Forest

The sophomore forward was chasing the ball down with the Wake Forest duo of Chaundee Brown and Olivier Sarr when they all collided just outside the lane about 15 feet from the basket.

Hellems came down hard and apparently hit the back of his head on the floor, then suffered a second blow when Sarr landed on top of him. He laid motionless on the floor for several minutes as medical personnel, his father Toroano Hellems and coach Kevin Keatts attended to him.

He was then placed on a backboard and taken to Winston-Salem's Baptist Hospital for precautionary reasons to, according to team spokesman Craig Hammel, "rule out a lower back injury and he's also being evaluated for a possible concussion."

"He was going for a big rebound in traffic," teammate C.J. Bryce said "Those Wake Forest guys were playing really hard at the end of the game and they really wanted that (ball). So you understand it. It's all part of the game. But it's just tough."

Hellems ranks second on the Wolfpack in scoring at 12.3 points per game. He has been especially hot of late, setting career highs of 17 and 23 points in his two previous games before Wake Forest. He scored 13 in the win against the Deacons, going 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

The good news for Hellems and his team, which is already playing with an abbreviated rotation because of injuries and departures, is that State has a full week off before playing again, next Sunday at UNC Greensboro.